How to write a business plan

Find out how to write an effective business plan and download a business plan template. 

A business plan will act as your roadmap. It will guide the business from start to growth, with reference to milestones along the way. The plan will include information about how you intend to get started and what your ultimate objectives are – and how you aim to get from one to the other.

You might want to start a business and sell it in a few years’ time, pass it onto your family, or grow to a point where you wouldn’t want to grow anymore. If you need to access funds for growth, a good business plan is key to getting investors and banks onboard.

So, after coming up with an idea and doing your research, writing the business plan is your first practical step to starting your business. With it under your belt you can say, “I’m off!” Or IMOFF. It’s an easy way to remember the headings to include in your business plan: Idea, Market, Operations, Financials and Friends. It doesn’t have to be long and try to keep it as simple as possible.

Here’s an IMOFF business plan template to get you started.

  • Idea: What’s your idea?
  • Market: Who will be your customers or clients? And who is your competition?
  • Operations: How will you develop the idea, promote it and provide good customer service?
  • Financials: Can you earn more than you spend, so that the business makes a profit? Do you need any funds to get started?
  • Friends: Do you have a support network on hand for when you need business advice? Are there complementary businesses you’ve identified with whom partnerships are a possibility?

Return to your plan to check progress against targets or to make amends as you respond to new opportunities.